The ITGA6 protein product is the integrin alpha chain alpha 6. Integrins are integral cell-surface proteins composed of an alpha chain and a beta chain. A given chain may combine with multiple partners resulting in different integrins. For example, alpha 6 may combine with beta 4 in the integrin referred to as TSP180, or with beta 1 in the integrin VLA-6. Integrins are known to participate in cell adhesion as well as cell-surface mediated signalling. Two transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. Specific loss of this integrin chain in the intestinal epithelium, and thus of their hemidesmosomes, induces long-standing colitis and infiltrating adenocarcinomas.
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